Bird, the league’s all-time assists leader, announced Thursday that she would retire at the end of the 2022 season. She grew up in Long Island, about an hour from Barclays Center.
Bird sealed the game with a 3-pointer as the shot clock ran down with 18.9 seconds left. She held her follow-through much to the admiration of the crowd, who gave her a standing ovation as she came out of the game right after. The 21-year veteran finished with 11 points.
The Liberty honored her pregame with a four-minute video tribute, and one-time teammates Sami Whitcomb and Natasha Howard gave Bird a jacket and jersey that featured every New York team stitched into them.
ACES 96, LYNX 95
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A’ja Wilson scored 25 points, Dearica Hamby added 16 — including a 3-pointer in the closing seconds — and the Aces rallied from a 14-point deficit to beat the Lynx.
Kayla McBride hit a 3-pointer and Jessica Shepard scored four point in a 7-2 spurt that trimmed Minnesota’s deficit to 93-91 with 1:38 to play. Neither team scored again until Chelsea Gray shook a reaching McBride with a behind-the-back move to get into the lane and kicked it out to a wide-open Hamby for a 3-pointer from the left corner to give Las Vegas a five-point advantage with 15.5 seconds left.
Shepard made a layup about 10 seconds later and, after a turnover by Gray on the inbounds pass, Shepard inexplicably drove for layup with 0.4 seconds left to make it 96-95.
Shepard had a career-high 22 points on 9-of-10 shooting, a career-best 18 rebounds and six assists for the Lynx (3-13).
FEVER 89, SKY 87
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — NaLyssa Smith scored a career-high 26 points — including a go-ahead three-point play in the closing seconds to help the Fever erase a 15-point second-half deficit and beat the Sky.
Smith was fouled as she hit a turn-around jumper from the left block and made the free throw to give the Fever an 88-87 lead with 39 seconds left.
Chicago missed two shots on the other end before Victoria Vivians was fouled with 7.8 seconds remaining. She made 1-of-2 free throws to give the Fever (5-13) a two-point lead.
After the Sky called a timeout, Courtney Vandersloot missed a short baseline jumper and the Fever held on.
Kahleah Copper scored a career-high 28 points for the Sky (10-5).
MYSTICS 71, SUN 63
WASHINGTON (AP) — Elena Delle Donne scored all 15 of her points in the first half and the Mystics beat the Sun.
Ariel Atkins and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough each scored 10 points for Washington (11-7).
Delle Donne converted a three-point play and then hit a 3-pointer about a minute later to make it 14-9 midway through the first quarter and the Mystics led the rest of the way.
Connecticut scored six consecutive points to trim its deficit to eight nearly-2 minutes later but Alysha Clark scored four points in a 7-0 spurt that made it 38-23 with 6 minutes left in the first half and the Sun couldn’t recover.
Jonquel Jones had 15 points and 16 rebounds for the Sun (12-4).
WINGS 92, SPARKS 82
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Arike Ogunbowale hit five 3-pointers and finished with 27 points, Marina Mabrey scored a season-high 21 points and the Wings used a third-quarter run to take control in their 92-82 win over the Sparks.
Allisha Gray had 20 points, a season-high 12 rebounds, six assists and three steals for Dallas. Kayla Thornton added 15 points for Dallas (8-8). The Wings have won back-to-back games after losing four in a row and six of the last seven.
Katie Lou Samuelson hit a pull-up jumper to give the Sparks a 45-43 lead with about a minute left in the first half but Dallas score the final seven points of the half — capped by Gray’s three-point play with 0.7 seconds left — to take a five-point lead into the break and the Wings never again trailed.
Nneka Ogwumike led Los Angeles (5-9) with 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting and 10 rebounds.